McDonald’s certainly has a reputation for things like amazing french fries and a burger count in the billions, but it’s also the home to many crazy happenings — the Golden Arches has seen its fair share of bizarre incidents and has even shown up on a number of police reports. When you think about it, the occasional bout of craziness is bound to happen at a fast food restaurant that stretches across the globe with many locations operating 24/7 — weird things just seem to happen after midnight.
Not everything that goes down at McDonald’s results in the police showing up and somebody being hauled off in handcuffs (though that does happen enough that we wouldn’t blame Ronald McDonald if he hired a few McCops). From the good, to the bad, to the so bad we may have to find a new place to get our bacon cheeseburgers, here are some of the wildest and weirdest things that have ever gone down at McDonald’s.
A topless woman went berserk and trashed the restaurant
There’s a reason Florida has a reputation for bizarre criminal behavior that makes the rest of the country shake their heads. Allow us to present exhibit A: Sandra Suarez, a 41-year-old woman who in 2014 made headlines after she decided to trash a McDonald’s in Pinellas Park, all while wearing only a bikini bottom. Suarez was captured on video pushing cash registers onto the floor, throwing anything she could get her hands on, and knocking over a drink dispenser. "You name it, she’s turning it over," Pinellas Park police spokesman Sgt. Adam Geissenberger said. She also took a moment to help herself to some ice cream, straight from the machine to her mouth. Hey, a person can work up an appetite trashing a McDonald’s.
As for the reason Suarez became a human wrecking ball inside the McDonald’s, police determined that she became irked when an employee turned down her offer for a sexual favor in the parking lot. She then came inside, and after an employee had the gall to ask her to put a shirt on, she lost it and went into buck-wild mode.
After an examination at the hospital determined she wasn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Suarez blamed the incident on bipolar disorder, saying she did not remember much of the event.
A cop pulled his gun because the drive-thru line was too slow
Being a police officer comes with a lot of stress, but waiting in the drive-thru line at McDonald’s probably isn’t what most cops would consider super stressful. In 2013 though, high school senior Ryan Mash was sitting in his car at a Georgia McDonald’s when a man behind him yelled for him to "stop holding up the drive-thru line." Rather than just sit in his car and think about the fast food meal awaiting him if he could remain patient a little longer, the man optioned to grab his gun instead. Mash said the man leaned into his car window and pointed the gun at him yelling "Do you know who I am?" Understandably, the entire ordeal was terrifying and Mash recalled, "The second I saw the gun I blacked out."
Even more disturbing is that the man was a police officer who was identified as Scott Biumi, a 25-year veteran of DeKalb County Police.
Biumi was arrested and lost his job before being placed on 10 years probation for losing his cool. During his court hearing it was revealed that he had a long history of mental illness with the former cop telling the judge he had even undergone electroshock therapy.
A woman shot into the drive-thru over a lack of bacon
While we’re on the subject of poor choices when it comes to firearms and McDonald’s, let’s look at the case of Shaneka Monique Torres. Torres lost her cool at a Michigan McDonald’s in 2014 and rather than choose to write a strongly worded Yelp review, she popped off a gunshot into the restaurant’s drive-thru. The reason behind the criminal act was all because her bacon cheeseburger was missing the bacon — twice.
It’s not like the McDonald’s employee’s messed up her order once and she whipped out her gun. That would be crazy. After her first order was wrong, the manager offered her a free burger. But when she later returned to the McDonald’s at 3 a.m. for another bacon cheeseburger, that sandwich was missing bacon, too. That’s when she’d had enough and fired her gun into the restaurant. Fool Torres once, shame on you, fool her twice, and you had better duck for cover.
Her attorney argued that the gun went off by accident, but the jury didn’t buy it and she was sentenced to three to seven years in prison. Remember folks, bacon is never worth serving hard time.
A man tried to pay for his order with a bag of weed
Fast food has come a long way with how customers can pay for their orders. What was once a cash-only business, most McDonald’s locations now accept debit, credit, and even mobile payment. There are limits to how customers can pay though, and offering up a bag of weed still isn’t considered a legitimate payment.
Anthony Andrew Gallagher is obviously a guy who likes to be creative with how he pays for his Mickey D’s fix, because he tried paying for his order at the drive-thru with marijuana. Who knows if Gallagher had successfully used weed as payment at other Port St. Lucie, Florida fast food joints, but the McDonald’s worker denied the payment and Gallagher sped off.
Anybody who’s had a french fry craving knows that when McDonald’s fries are on the mind, anything else is just a poor substitute, and when Gallagher returned to the restaurant later, police were waiting for him. He was then McBusted for possession and driving under the influence.
A couple got a bag of cash served with their breakfast
Finding an extra hash brown in your McDonald’s breakfast order at the drive-thru is lucky. Finding a wad of cash is extremely lucky — and probably a sign that something is awry. That’s exactly what happened to a couple in 2013 when they hit up a McDonald’s in Hermitage, Tennessee.
"My husband opened the bag and discovered the money inside," Stacye Terry told a local news station. "He said, ‘You are not going to believe this.’" As you can probably guess, the money wasn’t just an extremely generous McDonald’s promotion, but that location’s bank deposit money. A presumably panicked employee quickly discovered the mistake and was able to catch up with the couple who willingly returned the cash. Terry admitted that she and her husband got a laugh out of the mix up, but added there was no hesitation in handing it back over. "There is no other way to have it," she said. "I couldn’t live with myself."
Alas, it doesn’t appear as though McDonald’s will be adopting a new corporate policy of handing over bags of money to customers.
An employee was busted for selling heroin… in Happy Meals
Fast food jobs don’t exactly have a reputation for paying well, and one former McDonald’s employee decided to make a little extra during her shifts. Shantia Dennis was working at a Pittsburgh McDonald’s in 2014 when she was busted in a sting by police for using the drive-thru window as a means of selling heroin.
Customers who were looking for more than an Extra Value Meal would pull up and say that they wanted to order a toy — a boy’s toy, specifically. But that toy actually referred to a bag of heroin, which customers would be given via a Happy Meal box at the drive-thru’s first window. Whereas a typical Happy Meal would go for $2.99, these drug-filled Happy Meals were selling for a much heftier price. "Two dollars for the toy and $80 for the heroin inside," reported CNN. You didn’t expect Dennis to be giving away those Happy Meal toys, did you?
The undercover cops who made the bust nabbed 10 bags of the dope inside their Happy Meal and recovered an additional 50 bags of heroin, plus marijuana.
Oddly enough, this isn’t the first incident in Pennsylvania of a McDonald’s employee being arrested for allegedly selling heroin. Theodore Levon Upshaw was arrested for peddling heroin while working at a McDonald’s in Murrysville, Pennsylvania.
An 8-year-old stole a car to satisfy his cheeseburger craving
It’s a simple fact that kids love McDonald’s, and one precocious kid in Ohio was determined to do whatever was necessary to visit his favorite restaurant. A little thing like the lack of a driver’s license wasn’t about to stand between the 8-year-old boy and the Golden Arches when he took matters into his own hands in 2017.
After the boy’s parents fell asleep, he did what any kid would do and went straight to YouTube for a quick tutorial on how to drive a car. With his 4-year-old sister in tow, he stole his parents’ car keys and set off for the closest McDonald’s. If you couldn’t already tell, the kid is a rebel who plays by his own rules.
Pranks in the McDonald’s drive-thru aren’t exactly a rarity and workers assumed the parents were hiding in the back of the car. After multiple calls came in about a kid driving through town, police were able to catch up with the kids at their fast food destination.
As for the kid’s driving skills, well, he was pretty much an ace behind the wheel and obeyed all traffic laws. "He didn’t hit a single thing on the way there. It was unreal," East Palestine patrol officer Jacob Koehler said.
And don’t worry — the youngster ultimately got his cheeseburger, along with chicken nuggets and fries.
A man found money hiding in his cheeseburger
When you hear news reports of customers finding some mystery item in their fast food it’s usually something horrifying like a needle or a human tooth. But Dave Cook is that lucky McDonald’s customer who bit into his cheeseburger and came out on top.
In 2016, Cook was eating at a McDonald’s with his mother in Chesterfield County, Virginia when he bit into his burger and found $20. Finding a random $20 bill in your coat pocket is always a nice surprise, but nobody expects one in their burger. "I’ve heard of people finding strange things in their salad, but never finding something like this a cooked burger," Cook said. "I was in disbelief, I was like ‘is this for real?’"
Upon making the discovery, Cook said he saw two men sitting near him check under their burger buns, but of course they were met with beefy disappointment.
When pressed for how such a thing could have happened, the restaurant’s managers were bewildered and referred the incident to corporate. Perhaps McDonald’s has a burger fairy swapping out pickles for $20 bills?
The guy who brought in a dead raccoon
We’re fairly certain that no part of the training process for new McDonald’s employees involves protocol on how to handle dead woodland creatures. Employees and patrons of a San Francisco McDonald’s were definitely not lovin’ it when a man strolled into the fast food restaurant during breakfast carrying a dead raccoon. Not a dead raccoon that had been preserved through taxidermy either — we’re talking straight up roadkill.
"He came to the counter, and I thought it was a dog at first," McDonald’s customer Chris Brooks said. The man reportedly came in screaming for help and ignored employee’s demands that he leave before carrying the dead animal over to a table. The raccoon was dripping blood all over the floor so Brooks did what any sensible person would have done — he whipped out his phone and started filming. (Warning: The video footage contains NSFW language and graphic images.)
The police showed up to handle the situation, but the critter carcass had pretty much ruined breakfast and the place had to be immediately closed and sanitized. The man who was evaluated for mental health but was not detained. No word on what happened to his deceased furry friend, but it likely involved a garbage bag.
An employee was arrested for spiking a cop’s drink
When employees are handing out drinks and burgers to countless customers day in and day out, the occasional food mishap is bound to happen. Things become far more sinister, though, when it’s not an accident and an employee purposely taints a customer’s meal.
A Kansas McDonald’s employee found himself in big trouble — and definitely out of contention for employee of the month — when he was accused of spiking a cop’s drink with cleaning solution. In 2018, Trevor Hockaday was arrested and charged with aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer for allegedly adding a peroxide-based cleaner to an officer’s beverage when serving him in the drive-thru.
Not long after consuming the drink, the police officer started having flu-like symptoms. He didn’t know what the cause was until another McDonald’s employee told police that Hockaday had added a few squirts of the cleaning agent to the officer’s drink.
McDonald’s justice was swift and Hockaday was fired from the job. Of course, when you’re also facing charges that could carry up to 20 years of prison time, losing a fast food job probably seems like small potatoes.
A man walked in with a knife in his back
If there was ever a crazy McDonald’s story worthy of a "WTF?!" response, it’s what happened at a Jamaica, Queens McDonald’s in 2014. Imagine the scenario: You’re trying to enjoy your usual Mickey D’s order when a man casually strolls in while chatting on the phone with his family. Nothing out of the ordinary there except… OH MY GOD, HE HAS A KNIFE STICKING OUT OF HIS BACK! Yeah, things at McDonald’s just got real — real fast. (Warning: News report contains graphic images.)
Witness Tromaine Yancey told CBS 2, "I heard everybody screaming and it was a lot of commotion. The guy came and he was standing there with a knife in his back and it was a kitchen knife." Understandably, people tend to freak out a little when another person in the restaurant has a metal blade lodged in them. Other witnesses reported seeing a fight on the street several minutes earlier that the stabbing victim was believed to have been involved in.
An incident like this has a real way of ruining an appetite, and several people in the restaurant immediately stopped eating to try to help the man before he was taken to the hospital.
A plane crashed in a McDonald’s parking lot
Typically, when you hear about a vehicle crashing into a storefront it’s going to involve some sort of automobile. It might not be an everyday occurrence, but this kind of thing happens more than you might think. And there’s no really no telling what sort of craziness can happen in a drive-thru, like the driver who crashed into a line-up of cars while trying to evade police. Yes, those all things really happened at McDonald’s.
It’s a whole other level of craziness, though, when the threat of a crash comes not from the street, but from the skies above.
In 2014, a small prop plane crashed into the parking lot of a McDonald’s in Monroe, Louisiana. Nobody on the ground was killed or injured, but the pilot, who was the only person in the plane, did have to be airlifted to a hospital for his injuries. The fast food restaurant wasn’t even two miles from the airport, but the plane was having fuel problems and witnesses said it clipped several trees before going finally down at the Golden Arches.
Just a tip for any future pilots out there, McDonald’s parking lots make horrible airstrips.
A melee breaks out over a plastic straw
On New Year’s Eve 2018, at a McDonald’s in St. Petersburg, Florida, violence erupted over straws. According to CNN, a city ordinance was about to go into effect, requiring that customers would need to specifically ask for straws. McDonald’s employee Yasmine James was on her shift that night when a customer, Daniel Taylor, didn’t believe there was a new straw law. Instead, he angrily accused employees of not doing their jobs. Another customer, Brenda Biandudi, began recording it all on her cell phone. Suddenly, Taylor lashed out at James and grabbed her from across the counter.
As reported by News19, James was terrified. "When he grabbed me," she said, "my main thing was to get him off of me the best way I knew. Just let me go." In the obscenity-laden video, James fights back ferociously; as a teenager, she took boxing lessons (via The Shade Room).
Taylor was dragged out and later charged with two counts of simple battery. McDonald’s management cooperated with the investigation and granted James paid leave. Biandudi was on the fence about her kids’ posting the video — which went viral — on Facebook. "I want all the employees at McDonald’s to be safe. I think they acted appropriately," Biandudi said. "I want peace. I want them to keep their jobs and the man to get some help. We all need to learn how to talk to people in public and show them some respect" (via CNN).
A demon terrifies McDonald’s employees
Somebody has to give a break to those tormented McDonald’s employees who deal with intense customers, but demons too? According to Inside Mystery, on January 13, 2020, at about 3:00 a.m. in Pueblo, Colorado, 13 McDonald’s employees summoned police to investigate what they believed to be a demonic entity. All heard a screaming phantom woman and sounds of barking and someone speaking a strange language (per iHorror.com). They refused to leave the premises until dawn.
Police did a thorough search around the exterior of the building but found nothing, and although security cameras recorded the employees’ terrified reactions to what they heard, no sounds were captured. Pueblo Police Captain Tom Rummel later tweeted that "Three officers searched the area, but didn’t come up with the source of the disturbance." Someone responded enigmatically to Captain Rummel’s tweet with two words: La Llorona, a fearsome figure who stems from a Southwestern legend about a ghostly woman who screams through the night, searching for her dead children.
Another odd coincidence about this possible haunting is that it happened during the "witching hour", the time between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. when people are especially likely to perceive paranormal occurrences. As reported by Week In Weird, this creepy encounter is hardly the first time a McDonald’s has been haunted. Maybe management should consider hiring an on-call exorcist?
A teenager loses it over dipping sauces
Odds are you wouldn’t freak out if you learned that a second packet of your favorite fast food sauce would cost you a quarter. On New Year’s Day, June 1, 2020, at 4:00 a.m., in yet another Florida McDonald’s, 19-year-old Maguire Marie McLaughlin demanded extra packets of dipping sauce of every flavor. She then flew off the handle when told she’d have to pay 25 cents for each one (per Oxygen).
According to the arrest report published on The Smoking Gun, McLaughlin had put in a large order at the drive-thru. When told she’d have to pay extra for extra dipping sauce, McLaughlin rather ominous threatened to "get the sauce by whatever means necessary", according to the arrest report. When police arrived on the scene, arresting officer Christian Castano noted he smelled booze on the teenager’s breath and noticed her inebriated behavior and slurred speech.
As Officer Castano escorted McLaughlin to the patrol car, she locked her legs and refused to go further. Castano tried forcing her into the patrol car, but, in his words, "She proceeded to place her legs in the door jamb and refused to get inside." An assisting officer helped him get McLaughlin down to the ground and put her in a restraint device. The belligerent teen was charged with one count of disorderly conduct and one count of resisting arrest (via Fox News). Next time, as McLaughlin has surely learned, it’s better just pony up the 25 cents.